CONCERN over new library closure plan

Hunmanby Library
Hunmanby Library
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HUNMANBY Library could be axed next year.

County council bosses have announced the facility faces closure if major cost-cutting measures fail.

Library chiefs are currently in negotiations to increase resident volunteer support for the Stonegate-based library to ease a £1.7 million county wide cash deficit.

However, they have warned if no deal is secured by October, the library will close in March next year.

Cllr Nick Harvey, who led a campaign to stave off potential closure earlier this year, said he was hugely disappointed at the news.

He said: “The village roughly has 1,500 homes and is already is providing volunteers for around 50 voluntary groups, including the Home Library Service.

“We have been helping to promote the library, but the council now expects Hunmanby to come up with a local solution.

“I do not think it should fall on local people to run the library.

“We already have excellent staff in our library and have to find the volunteers and money for a number of venues including the community centre, Gods Acre Cemetery, the Bowls Club and the Methodist Church Hall.”

Cllr Harvey was at the forefront of organising a coach to transport irate Hunmanby residents to Scarborough Library in January for a heated meeting with council bosses over their library’s future.

Following the discussions it was announced in a meeting at All Saint’s Church that Hunmanby Library, which has staff costs of £19,000 a year, would be given a period of grace while councillors assessed the situation, giving residents real hope their facility was saved.

However, Cllr Harvey said the latest announcement was a real blow and dismissed the council’s rationale, which he believes falls too heavily on a reliance for customers to use Filey Library.

He said Hunmanby Library was a vital component in the community fabric and feared the authority was unfairly classing it in the same bracket as Filey’s facility.

He added: “This is not like setting up a new library in the Dales and I am very disappointed with what the council has said.

“The council seem to me to be putting

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Hunmanby in the same county boundary as Filey, but our village also serves people out in the Wolds and East Riding in places such as Folkton and Flixton.

“Hunmanby pays almost £1.3 million a year to North Yorkshire County Council but the library costs less than £48,000 and the village has none of the normal council facilities often provided by the borough or county council like youth clubs.”

In a statement, the council revealed it was continuing to look towards training volunteers and local partners to oversee Hunmanby Library’s running, while maintaining its current stock of books.

However, Cllr Harvey criticised it for a lack of reference to the library’s computer facilities, which he said was thriving and attracted people young and old to boost their education.

A report from the county council said: “Support from the service for libraries such as Hunmanby would include the provision of regularly updated book stock as well as training and monitoring for volunteers and partner providers from members of the professional library team.

“The service will continue to work with these communities in order to develop local solutions.

“However, given the financial constraints and the time needed to consult with staff affected, it is proposed that, if no partners come forward to work with the service in these locations by October 31, then these libraries will close by March 31 2012.”

Cllr Chris Metcalfe, the council’s executive member for the Library and Information Service, added: “We have listened hard during the extensive consultation and we believe the solution we have now put together will help to sustain a vital service while making the necessary savings.”